WRESTLING: What to do in the Off Season

Unless you were at the state tournament this past weekend, your wrestling season has been over for at least a week. During this last week you could have spent your time doing any number of postseason celebrations. Eating large dinners with no concern about weight, staying up late and sleeping in later, as well as going straight home after school to relax. All that is good and necessary for the body and mind to regather themselves from the several long months of intense training. This time of rest does not last forever though. For you wrestlers who are serious competitors, chances are this feeling did not even last more than a week. You are already thinking about how to avenge losses, what camps to go to, what freestyle and greco tournaments you want to do, etc. This article will help you identify your weaknesses, find proper places to train, how to eat, and ultimately, how to make the most of out this offseason so you can be an even greater wrestler next season.

Before you even take your first steps back into the wrestling room, you need to clearly set and identify your goals. Visualize what you want to achieve next season. Maybe it is to stay on the Varsity line up, or never get pinned, or qualify for Masters. The goals you set for the next season, build the framework for how you tackle this off season. Do not go into the wrestling room without a purpose. Do not go into the weight room without a purpose. Set a goal, visualize yourself achieving that goal while you put in the work to get there.


The first thing you can always do to become a better wrestler is to actually wrestle. Get some friends who are experienced wrestlers together and wrestle at the park, or in the living room. Having a training partner you can practice technique with will make you both better and give you an edge against the competition. Practice all the moves you suck at or want to get better at. Look at technique videos and drill, drill, drill. Carey Kolat is a legendary wrestler and has a vast technique library on his YouTube channel.

Some schools have a wrestling club that practices and competes in the off season. I am located in Sacramento, and there is just about a wrestling club at every high school in the area. I am a strength and conditioning consultant, and JV wrestling coach for Roseville High School who has over the years developed a very experienced and large wrestling club that practices and lifts weights several times a week in the off season. If you are in the Roseville, CA area feel free to reach out to me on how you can join the wrestling club.

Another option is to attend wrestling clinics and wrestling camps. I had the pleasure of attending several camps and clinics over the course of my wrestling career. Some of my bread and butter techniques that I still use in BJJ today were learned at these clinics or camps. Camps and clinics do cost a decent amount of money to attend. If you don’t have to money, you can WORK. Working won’t kill you. If you are in high school, you are plenty old enough to get a job. Mow lawns, wash cars, walk dogs, etc. Someone is always willing to pay a young kid to do the work they are too old to do.


In addition to refining your technique and wrestling more, you need to get stronger. No matter what your weight is, your skill level, win/loss record, you still need to get stronger. Mark Bell has a very famous quote that I wish I applied to my off season training. Bell famously says, “Strength is never a weakness.” You can never be too strong. Sure you can be short on conditioning, but you can never be too strong. Get STRONG. Lift heavy weights several times a week. Do squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, pull ups, bent over rows, farmer walks, push ups, dips, etc. That being said, don’t skip out on your conditioning maintenance. Do some sprint intervals about 1-2x/week. Keep in mind how I said sprint. You wrestle for six minutes, not 30. There’s little need for you to go on these crazy long runs if your main goal is to get as strong as possible this off season. Do anywhere between 10-20 rounds of sprint work per workout/week. This is actually my favorite part of training wrestlers. My ultimate passion is to help them get stronger for the next season. I train wrestlers to become stronger and bigger season after season, while still being in a competitive weight class. Just like you should find a training partner to drill with, find a training partner to lift with. You can push each other and keep each other accountable to stay disciplined and train.


You want to find a gym that has Olympic barbells and dumbbells of varying weights. Using only machines will never make you as strong as REAL weight. I have trained out of my garage for many years and I do not have any weight machines. I have barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, rings, pull up bars, bands, etc. All my clients use this equipment and get stronger. No machines needed. I am in no way saying machines are bad for you. Machines are great for other sports and training needs. But if you want to get strong, use the tools that give you the biggest bang for your buck.

I specialize in training wrestlers both in season and during the off season. For more information on programs, 1-on-1 and group training sessions at my facility, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for schedule and pricing.

3. EAT

In addition to all the wrestling and lifting you need to be EATING. You are no longer in season so there is no need to stay in your weight class. Do not gain an excessive amount of body fat, but gain some weight. Put some some quality size and muscle. To do that you need to eat. You can’t build a tank out of aluminum foil, and you can not build a strong and powerful wrestler with junk food. Eat lean meats, eggs, drink milk, lots of vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some fruit. Stay away from soda, breads, pastas, chips, fast food and processed sugars. It will take discipline. It will be difficult at first, but if you are serious about becoming a better wrestler next season, you will need to sacrifice things like junk food to do it.

When I train wrestlers in the off season, I also provide them specific nutritional guides to help them build the muscle they want to build, develop the conditioning they need, and put on the size they are looking for. For more information on eating clean for size and strength, you can look at some of my other articles in regards to nutrition, or email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for further questions.

With these three tips in mind, go attack and take advantage of this off season! I made the biggest improvements during the off season, not during the season. I made a lot of mistakes during my off seasons, which I will talk about in the next article. For more information on strength and conditioning for wrestling athletes, follow me on Instagram at @settlagestrength. To see my daily workouts and lifestyle focused around #dailydiscipline, follow my personal account @joshuasettlage.

For personalized wrestling training programs, nutrition guides for both strength gain and fat loss, 1-on-1 and group training sessions, feel free to email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for a consultation.


Tips on Recovery for Wrestling

If you are a wrestler from California, you have just finished your divisional tournament. If you are moving on to Masters you are just a few days away from the hardest tournament of the season up to this point. If you have read my last two articles, you have learned how to properly cut weight, and how to prevent most injuries you might sustain during this postseason. I’m going to be frank and inform you that you will not get any better between now and the Masters tournament. You can not get any stronger, you can’t get any faster, and your skills as a wrestler will not make any groundbreaking changes in the next few days. That being said, you are still training hard to make sure your body is in peak condition to wrestle at optimal performance. You can not do anything to get any better at the sport of wrestling these next few days, but there is a lot you can do to make yourself a whole lot worse.

What I am talking about, is recovery. How you recover from training can make the difference between you waking up Friday morning on weight, fresh and ready to wrestle, and you being off weight, sore, and sluggish. Here are some simple and easy things you can start doing TODAY to maximize your recovery from training sessions. Sure you can go to a massage therapist, or go to your local cryotherapy joint, but recovery methods that are done to you are rarely more effective as the recovery methods you do yourself.


Sound familiar? Yes, mobility is a great way to prevent injury, but it is also a great way to recover from training. Here is a great example: When I do my 20 rep squats, I always make sure I take some time immediately following the workout during my cool down, and also before bed to foam roll my legs. This helps decrease some of the muscles of my lower body will experience the following days.


I will also walk. Now after a hard training session you might think that laying down and resting is how to properly recover. Laying down to sleep is a great way to recover. However sitting around in the same position all day doing nothing is not. Studies have shown that light movement that provides blood flow to the area promotes healing and recovery. Increased blood flow to the damaged muscles within the same day of training helps them repair faster by flushing out any residual lactic acid and bring in more white blood cells. These white blood cells contribute to the rebuilding and repair of the muscle tissue. Soreness is caused largely in part by swelling of the muscles due to an abundance of white blood cells. A tool I use to help with promoting blood flow is a electrical stem unit (shown above). This electrically stimulates the muscles forcing rapid contractions, thus helping flush out lactic acid and bringing more blood flow to the area. This is not a necessity, but it sure is convenient.

After a hard weight lifting workout, I will usually go for a walk, or spend 10-20 minutes rolling out whatever was trained previously. After grappling training, I will make sure to take my body through some range of motion exercises. Stuff like air squats, PVC pass throughs, lunges with an overhead stretch, etc.


I tell just about all my clients this short mantra: Muscles are broken down in the gym, refueled in the kitchen, and rebuilt during sleep. What you put into your body immediately following training is crucial to the start of the recovery process. After a hard two hour long wrestling practice, you’re beat. Your lungs are burned out, your shoulders are dead, legs heavy, and neck sore. Immediately following training, your body is primed to take in nutrients, immediately begin to use them to refuel those muscles and utilize those nutrients efficiently. After training you should be looking to take in some form of what I call clean carbohydrates to refuel glycogen stores and something that will help in repairing muscle. Real food is the best option for you. Having a banana and some chicken post training is perfect. You can leave the wrestling room, wash your hands, and crush that banana and chicken. In layman’s terms, your body will take most of the carbohydrates from banana and turn them into glycogen to be placed back into the muscle. The protein from the chicken is used to be part of the rebuilding process in muscle repair and protein synthesis.

If you can not have real food right away after practice, some supplementation can be used. In my own grappling training I will bring a shaker cup with some BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids), to mix with water and drink in the car on the way home. BCAA’s are basically broken down protein molecules that do not have to be further broken down to be used for recovery and muscle repair.

Imagine you have a LEGO structure you are building. Every time you need more LEGO’s someone hands a fully built set. To get the pieces you need, you must break down the set, pick the pieces you need, and then apply them to your own structure. This takes way longer than if someone just handed you a tub full of disconnected pieces. Using BCAA’s when real food is not available is a great way to help with recovery from training.

(I currently use FNX Supplements BCAA’s. I just take one scoop and mix it with water. You can find the product here. Use promo code, “FNXJOSH” for 15% your order.) If you can not get real food in you right away after training and are in need of carbohydrates post training, dextrose is a cheap and easy option. You can throw some in with your BCAA’s.

REAL FOOD IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN A SUPPLEMENT. Having real food post training might take some extra planning and preparation. If you made it this far already, you should be taking matters into your own hands and doing whatever you need to perform your best.


The final and arguably the best thing you can do for recovery is to sleep. It is during sleep where you body recovers the most. Simply sleeping longer is a great place to start. During these last few weeks of the season, look to get a minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep per night. This means even on the weekends. You only have about two weeks left in the season. You can afford to skip hanging out with friends, partying, and playing video games, for two weeks.

Your quality of sleep can be greatly affected by what you do before you turn the lights off. Some low hanging fruit to improve sleep are… 1) Do look at a screen two hours before bedtime. I know that seems just near impossible today’s day and age, but hear me out. When you are on your phone, on the computer or watching TV, your eyes are exposed to blue light. This artificial blue light basically tricks your brain into thinking it is day time still and needs to be fired up and ready to go. Eliminating exposure to this blue light helps stimulate your parasympathetic nervous systems which down regulates your body and helps you relax. Two hours before bed, stop watching TV, stop playing video games, and turn your phone on night shift. 2) Turn all the lights off in your room. A light no matter how small, can affect your sleep. It can prevent your ability to fall into a deep REM sleep. 3) You can also mobilize before bed to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Like I said before, the parasympathetic nervous system is what is responsible for down regulating your body and your mind and preparing you for relaxation and sleep.

I do not believe that overtraining is a common occurrence in high level athletics, just under recovery. If you don’t recover enough, you are sapping performance and risk not being 100% on game day. Give these recovery methods a shot and prime your body to perform it’s best for this next step on the road to state.

For more information and a peek into my daily life, workouts, and personal nutrition, follow me on Instagram, @joshuasettlage.

Tips on Staying Injury Free During Wrestling

For all your wrestlers, the road to state is upon you. Based on your performance at League Finals, you are now preparing to move on to divisionals or the Masters tournament. If you have been training hard, pushing yourself on the mat, cutting weight, and everything in between to make yourself better, chances are you have encountered some bumps and bruises. You got banged up a bit and have a nagging injury or a tweaked something or other. Here are some of my favorite ways to prevent injury and mend the bumps and bruises before I go from just being hurt, to being injured.


I should not even have to say this, but you as an athlete must know the difference between being hurt and being injured. If you are working hard to make it to the state tournament, you should know by now that you will have to compete while being hurt and banged up. It is part of the sport. I am not a doctor and am not trying to be one on the internet. If you have a legitimate injury that needs professional medical attention, do as the professionals say. These following tips are things that have worked for me in the past when I was HURT, not injured, and have a decent amount of evidence supporting them.


Now that is out of the way, let me start off by saying that staying injury free is 90% of the time easily preventable as long as you listen to your body. Sure, freak accidents happen, but you know when something is bugging you, a little achy, or tight, and you keep pushing it. Sure enough, something rips, tears, dislocates, or breaks. Listen to your body and monitor your training accordingly. At the start of each day, shake things out to see where you are at. Know your limitations for the day, do the adequate mobility work to look for improvement in the joint or muscle. If you are still banged up by practice time, let your partner know and work around it.

My junior year of wrestling I had competed in a tournament about two weeks out from league finals. At that tournament, I tweaked my shoulder pretty good and had a hard time reaching overhead, basing up, or getting sprawled on. I should have listened to my body, and taken it easy on the moves, techniques, exercises, that caused pain in that shoulder, as well as let my training partner know to watch out for that shoulder. However, I did not. What resulted was me still trying to go hard in the paint for a week, and having a small hurt shoulder turn into an injured one. This all happened in the two weeks leading up to league finals and the day before the tournament I had to pull out. Do not go so hard in the paint, that the paint dries up.

Listen to your body. Communicate with your training partners and coaches. Do the adequate work to try to mend whatever is banged up. This leads me into the second tip.


Mobility is more than just stretching. Mobility is means to help you be flexible through motion and all of it’s ranges. For example, reaching down and touching your toes does not do much in regards to helping your squat. You are simply stretching your tight hamstrings, not improving their ability to move and be flexible through motion. However, foam rolling the hamstrings and glutes is very beneficial to helping your squat mobility. Loosened up hamstrings help you not round your lumbar spine in the bottom of the whole and achieve a better depth.

This can be included in pre and post practice recovery work. You go to school, work, etc. go train and at the sound of that last whistle or bell, you pack up your stuff and go home to sit for several hours, letting your fatigued muscles grow tight. At the end of practice try foam rolling your T-spine (your back), try smashing your anterior deltoid (outer chest and front of shoulder) with a baseball or lacrosse ball, or find a wall to open up those hip flexors. Doing just a few minutes of mobility before practice can help you warm up and have better muscle contractions and agility, while post practice can kick start your recovery and prevent muscles from becoming stiff or sore after training.

Dr. Kelly Starrett has some of the most informational and popular mobility videos on the internet. His book, “Becoming a Supple Leopard” is full of techniques and methods of mobility for essentially everybody part. You can buy his book on Amazon here, and check out his extensive YouTube channel, here.

3. HEAT.

So you have been listening to your body at practice. Not pushing the limits of a particular joint that is feeling a bit achy. You told your training partner to watch out for this joint, cause it’s a little banged up (I know I say that a lot of will continue to say “banged up”). You do your mobility work both before practice, and during the cool down afterwards. Still after all this, you still have that nagging tweak. Something that I have used for almost every injury for years of lifting weights and wrestling, is heat. Whether it be a heating pad, sauna, steam room, hot shower, doesn’t matter. Heat helps promote blood flow. Blood and the fluids of the lymphatic system are what is largely responsible for healing and mending of injuries through bringing nutrients to the injured area.

Referring back to my shoulder injury my junior year, after the season had ended and still no luck on my shoulder getting better, I at first looked into how icing periodically throughout the day could help heal my shoulder. I came across a video that Dr. Starrett posted on his YouTube channel where he breaks down why we having the whole idea about icing wrong. You can watch it here. Icing freezes (pun intended) the joints and repeated use can cause the muscles to grow stiff. This is why during the peak of winter time you do not feel as loose at the start of practice until your hoodie is drenched in sweat, and the wrestling room has turned into a sauna.

Movement through range of motion is one of the best ways to heal the muscles around a joint, or the joint itself and an easy way to do that pain free is to heat up the area first. What I did in high school, and even still to this day is take a hot shower and slowly work my banged up joint through ranges of motion. I would do arm circles both directions, scarecrows, scapular retraction exercises, etc. If I did not have time to take a shower and dry off again, I would place a heating pad on the area of pain for about 10-15 minutes. Sure enough, after a couple weeks of doing this process two or three times a day, my shoulder was good as new. No ice needed.

I might do an article that goes more in depth about mobility and the use of heat therapy for healing minor injuries. There is a lot of science and research that supports these three tips, and from personal experience, all three have worked for me. Hope these three tips help you keep wrestling all the way through to the state tournament.

Tips on Weight Cutting for Wrestling

It is that time of year. Your last league dual meet has been completed and now your focus is on League Finals and the road to state. Thanks to the two pound allowance that was administered a couple weeks ago, you are planning on dropping to the next lowest weight class. If you are going to embark on such an endeavor, you must know some simple rules of weight cutting in a healthier, yet effective manner.

Before I continue, let me be clear that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. The following is a compilation of personal experience and research conducted by yours truly. Always consult a physician before partaking in any extreme weight loss procedures.

Back to my tips for weight cutting. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you are dropping weight each week on the road to state.


I know it sounds crazy. You would think that the best way to lose weight is to just stop eating. You are correct, you can lose a lot of weight by simply no longer eating paired with exercise. However, that is a sure way to sap performance, and though the quick drop in weight is nice, your weight will eventually stall out.

Food is fuel, bottom line. If you want to make a car lighter, you take off the heavier pieces and replace them with lighter ones, NOT by taking out all the gasoline. Your body acts in a similar way. After those hard training sessions in the wrestling room, your body needs fuel to recover and rebuild itself in preparation for the next hard training session. Your body is broken down in the wrestling room, refueled in the kitchen, and rebuilt during sleep. I tell all my athletes to continue eating a clean diet, even if they are trying to cut weight. Simply switching to healthy foods would guarantee a quick 2-3lb drop in a week or two.

A simple guideline to follow on what to eat when cutting weight would be… i. If it comes from the ground or has a mom it is probably good for you, ii. If it has more than three ingredients, it is probably bad for you. That is a great place to start if you are looking to make some healthy changes to your diet. Keep eating, just eat till your satisfied but not full. If you need to go for a run before bed to get a little sweat going and lose .5-1lb, do so. DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF.


I can imagine that this also will sound crazy. You lose weight while you sleep. If you weigh yourself before bed and check your weight in the morning, you will notice that you would have lost some weight. Finding out the average amount of weight lost during sleep is a great tool to use when cutting weight. I know I lose about 2lbs during sleep. I compete at 155lbs when I cut weight. Knowing I lose about 2lbs from sleep, I now know that the night before morning weigh ins, I need to weigh 157lbs. This is usually my weight post dinner, and after about 45 mins light jog to lose a little weight from dinner and keep my metabolism up.

You do not need to be on weight the night before weigh ins, you only need to be on weight when you step on the scale. Track your weight every day and night for a week. Find the average amount of weight lost during sleep and factor that into your target weight the night before. If you need to run laps in the arena before weigh ins to lose a pound, it is not a big deal. You can lose a pound of water weight in 30-45 mins easy.


So you made weight and are walking back to the stands to eat breakfast. What you decide to eat for breakfast plays a very important role in optimizing your performance after a serious weight cut. Immediately begin consuming fluids to rehydrate. Water is obviously a given. Try drinking close to a full water bottle before eating any solid foods. Having a good amount of water in your system will help with your digestion, and immediately begin the rehydration process. Sipping on Pedialyte along with water is another popular way to rehydrate due to the high content of electrolytes. However, drink this slow. There have been some cases of people drinking it too quickly and having the sharts or runs later on in the day.

You are also going to want to consume some form of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help you pull water into the muscles. Carbohydrates also aid in the production of glycogen which is the fuel for the muscles. When your muscles are depleted of glycogen, your performance is sapped. Ever seen someone start off really strong in a tournament, and at the end are just a shell of themselves? They will be a conditioning machine in the first few rounds of the tournament, but by their fourth and fifth match they are just gassed. Much of that is due to the lack of glycogen or fuel in the muscle. Rehydrating properly, and consuming enough carbohydrates to refuel glycogen stores is crucial for optimal performance for a long day of wrestling.

There are obviously a lot more steps involved in a safe, successful weight cut. However, I will have to dive into those another time. Hope you find these three tips helpful if you are lost during your weight cut, or if you are a seasoned wrestler familiar with the weight cutting process. If you have any more questions about weight cutting or prepping for the road to the state wrestling tournament, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram, @joshuasettlage.

Training Through Injury

If you do not follow my Instagram account (@joshuasettlage), you have not seen my stories of me training with the high school wrestlers from my alma mater, Roseville High School. Working with these wrestlers has reminded me of my own wrestling training during high school. In those memories are the bitter memories of injuries. In doing jiu jitsu competitively, injuries are present as well. All these inspired me to talk about something I often get asked about: training through injury/what to do if you are injured.

I feel like I should not even have to say this, but before you ask you coach to sit out of wrestling practice, tell him/her you can’t wrestle today, or decide to not show up to your jiu jitsu training, ask yourself if you are hurt or injured. These are both contact sports with extreme levels of physicality and demand on the body. If you want to be competitive, you have to train while you’re hurt. I find it appalling the absence of tenacity, grit and discipline in wrestlers and jiu jitsu players saying they want to be the best, but will use a jammed finger, or sore throat as a reason to skip out on training. I’m not sorry if that sounds harsh. If you find this offensive, it is most likely because no one told you to suck it up and get back to training. So I’m telling you now, if you want to be the best, suck it up and get back to training.

Now that is out of the way, I can move on to what this article is really about. Imagine you just tweaked your knee in training. You were defending a takedown, and your partner reached for your ankle pulling it towards him/her while your hips were unable to move. They pulled it a little too far and you feel and concerning pop in your knee. You shake it off and finish out practice. You go home, ice it, heat it, compress it, etc. in hopes of full recovery by the time you wake up. Next morning it is swollen and completely stiff to the point when you walk, you are swinging your leg out to the side instead of flexing at the knee. Now you have a legitimate injury. What do you do? KEEP TRAINING. Now I do not mean, keep training takedowns and put yourself in the same position that caused the injury, but DO WHAT YOU CAN. Your knee is jacked up? Good. Time to work on pull ups. Your elbow is tweaked from an armbar? Perfect. Now go hit 500 air squats for time. Pulled something in your shoulder? Awesome. Go lunge for 15 minutes straight.

There is always something you can do. Unless you are in the hospital, find a way to keep training. I had a hurt wrist for most of my junior and senior year of high school. Some weeks it only hurt to put direct pressure on it like in a handstand position, other times it would shoot pain through out my forearm when I turned over the ignition in the car. What did I do? I couldn’t lift (I know… it was a dark and sad time), I could only do limited bodyweight exercises and running drills/workouts. That is exactly what I did. Box jumps, pistol squats, air squats, sprint intervals, broad jumps, and long distance runs. I was able to build up my conditioning and sprint faster than ever. I was somewhat more explosive and had improved my squat mobility tenfold. At wrestling practice I could push a high pace in a match, much longer than I ever could before.

The bottom line is that there is always something you can do. Do not waste time, pouting about how you can’t train. You might not be able to do live rolling, or max out on squats for a few weeks, or do any barbell overhead work, but there is still something you can do to get better. Injuries are blessings and curses. As much as you hate not doing what you love, it might be the only time you dedicate time to work on another weakness in your game.

Submission Pro Tour Open Peak Week

If you have not been following me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage), or been keeping up with my competitive endeavors, I am competing in the Submission Pro Tour Sacramento Fall Open. As of today I am currently sitting at 11 days out from the competition. In this event I will not be cutting any weight, and will be competing at 181lbs in the white belt division. With any competition, the preparation one makes can directly affect the results of the event or contest. I love training. I love rolling, wrestling, grappling, and lifting weights. I also love to program my own training and tailor it specifically to my needs. Going into this tournament, I knew I need to properly “peak” for this event and come in as fresh and strong as can be. At the GrapplingX tournament I competed in May of this year, I had a great prep, easy weight cut, but felt I came in slightly over trained/under recovered. I felt like I could not produce the force in takedowns, or have the capacity to endure grueling matches, even though I spent a lot of time improving my conditioning. Thankfully I only had three matches, with only one going the distance so my gas tank wasn’t fully tested. Going into this tournament, I want to ensure that I am fully recovered and able to perform my best. Here are some of the tactics I will be implementing to ensure proper recovery.


Sleep is something I am definitely aiming to increase as the contest grows closer. Going into the GrapplingX tournament, I woke up at 4:15am everyday until the Wednesday before where I caught some more Z’s. I love getting up early and training earlier in the morning rather than later, but I came to realize that if I want to perform my best, I need to reevaluate my sleeping habits. Starting three weeks out, I will go from waking up at 3:15-3:30am six days a week to train, to three days a week and the remaining days sleeping in as late as possible to accumulate a total of eight hours of sleep. This also leads into how I will change my weight training…



On the days where I will be waking up between 3:15-3:30am, I will conduct my regular weight training workouts, but with much less volume. Instead of working up to a maximum effort squat and then 3-5 drop sets at 75%, I will just perform the max effort squat, and move on to the accessory work. I also changed the volume on my accessory work. Instead of 10-15 sets of accessory work, it is now between 5-6. Keeping high intensity in my workouts allows me to stay sharp and keep my body loose, without the prolonged recovery time of the high volume training I was doing. The days where I get a full eight hours of sleep, I do not perform any weight training, and focus on pushing the pace at jiu jitsu and getting in extra live rounds. Over the course of the three weight training days, I want to hit the big three (squat, bench, & deadlift) for a heavy single. I will keep this up until two weeks out when I will only work up to 70% of my 1RM for deadlift, but keep squat and bench the same. The week of, it will be light sessions of active recovery work.



My nutrition will remain the same until the contest. I found myself stalling in my body weight, and slightly gaining body fat. I adjusted my macros by slightly decreasing my carbohydrate intake. Since I do not have to cut any weight for this tournament, I can still bulk slowly and focus on building muscle. I am currently following a If It Fits Your Macros approach which works great, but I find a decrease in performance when I chose to get some of my macros from foods of lesser quality. So starting a month out, I will be getting all my macros from quality food sources, the best that I can find. I’ll adjust my macros day to day to see how I’m feeling. If I have a lot of live rounds and am completely spent at the end of training, I might add some carbs back in. That is the beauty of not having to cut weight. I get to eat till I’m satisfied and show up to compete with a full belly.

Those are the three things I will be tweaking with my current programming in preparation for this tournament. After this tournament, I will go back to the full Settlage Size & Strength program and will prepare to compete in Cory Gregory’s Turkey Classic online powerlifting meet. More on that later.

If you are looking for personalized strength and conditioning programming, a customized nutrition, or 1-on-1 training, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com. For more content on training, jiu jitsu, and my personal life, follow me on Instagram, @joshuasettlage.

3 Things Wrestlers Should Do In Their Pre-Season

Labor day weekend is now officially behind us, and the heat waves and summer tournaments are over. Now is the calm between being in the off season, and being deep into the weekly dual meets, tournaments, cold winter and all. As a wrestler, you are the only one responsible for your losses the previous season. There is no one else to blame, but you. As a wrestler, you can not claim credit for any of your wins. Each of your wins last season came from the many contributions both your training partners and coaches invested in you. Although, during the off season, what you do to get better is entirely your responsibility. The summer months are what really separate the JV and Varsity line ups, the divisional competitors, and state placers. During the summer, a wrestler makes a conscious choice whether they want to crush the competition next season or not. They make a choice between being a glutton at every backyard BBQ and hardly gets a wink of sleep, and those who focus on getting stronger, refining technique, and keeping their nutrition in check. What YOU decided to do this summer is what has put you in the position you are in now. It is now the week after Labor Day weekend, back in school, and time to start up pre season training. Here are three things every wrestler who is serious about becoming the best wrestler they can be should be doing right now in this precious preseason.

  1. Keep Getting STRONG.

If you are one of those wrestlers who chose to take advantage of the off season, you most likely spent most of the summer training hard to build a firm foundation of strength to take into next season. Now that it is the pre-season, do not stop now! You still have at least three months before your first tournament. That’s 2 months at the very least to keep lifting heavy and getting as strong as can be. You might have to make sacrifices like skipping weekend parties and late nights to be a good student, and lift for wrestling. You can’t stop now, because there is still work to be done. You do not want to throw away that strength you worked so hard for over the summer. With that being said, now is the time to introduce a little conditioning. Finish out your workouts with some sprint intervals on the track, or sled drags and pushes. You do not need to run a marathon, but something short, fast to start building your engine. A future article will discuss different conditioning finishers for pre-season training. Here is one of the simplest finishers: 20 minutes total of 30s all out sprints, followed by 30s of rest. If you have never done this on a rowing machine, give that a try. You will find what you’re made of on that rower.


If you have not been training this summer to get strong, now is the time to start. Start squatting, deadlifting, and pressing. If you need to know why strength is important to sport and how to perform each lift, refer to last week’s article here. There is a famous saying, “On a hot summer day with no shade, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is right now.” You should have started doing some sort of structured strength training two weeks after your last match. If you did not, then you better get to the gym and start now.

2) Dial in Your Nutrition:

School has started which means there are no more summer BBQ’s, swim parties, late night hang outs or kickbacks. Now is the time to get your nutrition straight. You want to have your diet locked in BEFORE season starts. Trying to adjust your diet, finding out what foods your body responds well too, and trying to develop new eating habits to make weight in season is very hard. Get your food straight now. It will only make you a better athlete. If you have never seriously eaten clean before. Start with these two simple rules: 1) If it comes from the ground or has a mom, it’s probably good for you. 2) If it has more than three ingredients, it is probably bad for you. Simple as that. Not only will you perform better as an athlete, you will gradually begin to lose excess body fat gained in the summer, thus giving you a better idea of what weight class you can be most competitive in. Learning to properly fuel your body for optimal performance should be done before you begin training for optimal performance.



For some wrestling programs, not all preseason practices are mandatory. You have to chose to show up to practice. If you are in the middle of football season and/or have commitment to another sport that’s a different story. Although, if you are serious wrestler, you better show up. It’s no secret that the wrestlers who have been to more practices, drilled more tilts, taken more shots, and finished more takedowns at practice are going to out perform you every time. Put in extra work every chance you get. If there’s no practice on Saturday, invite a team mate over, move the couch and coffee table and drill tilts for an hour on the carpet. If there is no one who wants to drill for an hour on a Saturday, move the couch and coffee table and drill your stand up escapes. Getting in 100 perfect reps doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes. Instead of laying on the couch watching TV, watch your matches from last season and take notes (I started doing this when I was a sophomore in high school. Hands down one of the best things I did to become a better wrestler. I still do it to this day with all my jiu jitsu matches.)


I apply this principle in my own jiu jitsu training. All summer I would find someone who would want to show up an hour early to drill transitions and submissions. I usually stay after class to get an extra 30 minutes of live rolls in. When no one wants to get to jiu jitsu early, I go over to my old wrestling team and wrestle with them for an hour before I go to jiu jitsu. On Sundays I drive 30 minutes across town to another jiu jitsu school and get in an hour of live rolling. My game has improved drastically, because of the extra steps I take each week to become better. My next competition is in 46 days and I want to be prepared as I can be. I will take every chance I get to become better. You have 3 months. Get after it.

These are the three things you should be doing right now during this precious preseason. If you are not, start NOW. Not tomorrow, or Monday. TODAY. Begin to build discipline and take advantage of opportunities to become a better wrestler. Next season is a reflection of the work you put in during the offseason and preseason. Get strong, eat clean, and wrestle.

Barbell Training for Sport

Let me just start off by quoting one of the most influential lifters and self made, self proclaimed, meat head millionaires I’ve ever met: Mark Bell. Bell famously signs off his podcast (Mark Bell’s Powercast) with, “Strength is never a weakness.” This could not be more true. Though yes it is a clever play on words, the underlying principle should be considered when training for sport. Strength is a critical component to EVERY sport. I literally mean EVERY sport. Do not get that confused with most important. In a sport like track, speed is universally most important, but strength is a valuable component in even speed oriented sports. You do not need to be the strongest man in the world, or sport a 500lb deadlift, but when two evenly skilled athletes enter in competition, the one who is stronger is most likely to come out on top. Strength is directly correlated to one’s ability to produce force. For example, in the sport of sprinting, a stronger athlete can produce more force with each foot strike, producing a greater stride length. Greater stride length leads to greater distances traveled with each step with less energy used.

Why specifically barbells? Sure dumbbells, kettle bells, sandbags and body weight exercises are also great tools to build strength, but barbells are most commonly recognized as the superior training tool in building the greatest amount of strength. One of the greatest resources for learning about barbell training, Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training”, explains this concept best. Rippetoe states, “Properly performed, full range-of-motion barbell exercises are essentially the functional expression of human and muscular anatomy under load… Barbells allow weight to be moved in exactly the way the body was designed to move it…” (Rippetoe, M., 2013). Using a machine only allows the body to move the way the machine allows you too. If you are looking to strengthen your lower body, you can squat, or you can use the leg press machine. The leg press machine is a great piece of equipment, although it does have it’s flaws. You do not have to balance the weight and recruit all the stabilizing muscles of your trunk, the leg press machine has a backrest which allows you to produce force against a fixed object, thus removing the need for back strength.

Here are three basic barbell exercises that anyone can add to their current sport training. Keep in mind I am not a doctor, nor do I intend to play one on the internet. Be safe, not foolish.

The Squat:

The king of all exercises is the squat, and I believe every athlete from every athletic discipline can benefit from squatting. Correct and technically sound squatting helps strengthen the entire body (a stronger body is a body that is less susceptible to injury and able to produce more force). One of the biggest benefits of the squat is that it is the only exercise to directly train hip drive. Hip drive is the active recruitment of the muscles that create the posterior chain. The posterior chain includes all the muscles running from your mid back, hamstrings and everything in between. The posterior chain is the core of all athletic movements. The posterior chain contributes greatly to jumping, pushing, picking things up, pulling, stabilization, and balance. Employing squatting into an athlete’s strength and conditioning program can assist in the jumping ability of a basketball or volleyball player, develop the power and strength in the legs and hips of a football player, and produce greater leg drive and force in a wrestler. The squat is also a great exercise to strengthen movements that involve hinging at the hips. The hip hinge position is seen in many sports (traditional wrestling stance, football starting line position, starting position of a vertical jump, etc.).


A big misconception about squatting is the belief that squatting is bad for your knees. Let me clarify that bad squatting is bad for your knees (Ex: Squatting with your knees caving in is bad for your knees). Squatting with proper technique is actually one of the best exercises for your knees. Rippetoe goes on to state, “The squat, when performed correctly, not only is the safest leg exercise for the knees, but also produces more stable knees than any other leg exercise does.” (Rippetoe, M., 2013). In a study conducted by Tony Ciccone, Kyle Davis, Dr. Jimmy Bagley, & Dr. Andy Galpin from Cal State Fullerton on deep squatting and knee health, they found that deep squats do not place greater amounts of stress on the ACL and the PCL than shallow squats. However, their research went on to conclude that deep squats, “… result in greater activation of lower-body musculature compared to shallow squats.” (Bagely, J., Ciccone, T., Davis, K., & Galpin, A., 2015). That being said, DO NOT avoid deep squats. A REAL squat is when you lower the hips to at least parallel with the knees, preferably below. Any squat with hips higher than the knees is a partial squat, and not a REAL squat.

The Deadlift:

If the squat is the best exercise to develop hip drive, the deadlift is the best exercise to develop back strength. Similar to the squat, the deadlift develops stability in the posterior chain, and allows for the lumbar spine to remain rigid in order to transfer power into the trunk. The deadlift is one of the greatest tests of strength. You can either lift it or you can’t. The deadlift requires the athlete learns how to brace the spine properly which transfers over into all athletic movement. Learning to properly brace the spine is crucial to avoiding potential injury and producing power in a more efficient manner. Not everyone needs to do heavy deadlifts. For a marathon runner or a swimmer, heavy deadlifts might not be necessary. Although, lighter deadlifts with an emphasis on proper bracing and hamstring recruitment can greatly assist in injury prevention.20170829_200924962_iOS.jpg

The deadlift is another great exercise that focuses on strengthening the hip hinge position. It develop one’s ability to lift objects of the ground from a hip hinge position, and extend the torso with proper bracing of the spine. Look at the back control position in jiu jitsu shown below. When the athlete in front is bending forward to defend different submission attempts, the athlete in back must use their posterior chain to extend their opponent’s body to create openings for submission attempts, forcing the hips open and forcing their body into a weaker position. The deadlift can directly strengthen one’s ability to extend the body and open the hips.


The Overhead Press:

The overhead press is one of the greatest upper body barbell exercises one can add to their strength and conditioning program (in this article I am referring to the standing overhead press). The overhead press not only develops the shoulders and all the secondary muscles involved in overhead extension, but teaches an athlete how to brace their spine in a new overhead range of motion. The overhead press is not just an upper body exercise. According to Rippetoe, “… except for powerlifting and swimming, all sports that require the use of upper-body strength transmit that force along a kinetic chain that starts at the ground.” This route that force travels through the body is called the kinetic chain. This chain begins at the feet (base) and ends at the bar (the load being moved) in the hands of the athlete. It goes without saying that some people consider this exercise as dangerous. Let me again state that bad pressing is dangerous. Pressing with poor technique can lead to shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingement refers to the pinching of the tendons between the head of the humerus (upper arm) and the scapula (shoulder blade). When pressing overhead, the athlete should focus on shrugging their shoulders at the lock out point of the lift. This causes the scapula to be positioned in a manner where the arms are strongly supported and impingement is not present.

Please excuse the poor picture quality. This is a shot of me doing a behind the neck press. Different range of motion than a regular press, makes this a great variation of an overhead press.

In closing, barbell training can greatly enhance someone’s athletic ability and drastically increase performance in their sport. Barbell training is arguably the best way to build strength. By incorporating the squat, the deadlift, and overhead press, an athlete can get stronger, have the ability to produce more force, and become a more complete athlete. There are several ways to program barbell training for sport. This is all dependent on the athlete, the sport, training experience, etc. which I will cover in a future article. Below are some links to some of the best instructional videos on how to squat, deadlift, and press. Give them a watch and try them out.

If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend. One of my biggest passions is spreading the gospel about the barbell. Barbell training has changed my life and I believe it can change yours too.

For more information of barbell training for sport, questions about current training programs, or inquiries about 1-on-1 training sessions, DM me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage) or email me at settlagesac@gmail.com.

The Squat:

The Deadlift:

The Overhead Press:


What I’ve Learned About Bulking

If you are someone who is serious about lifting weights, or someone who is just starting, at some point you have or will think about trying to get stronger. To a certain degree getting stronger comes with getting bigger. Bigger muscles have a greater capacity to be stronger muscles. This is the reasoning for most lifters choosing to go through a “bulking” phase. Bulking is the simplest terms is a phase of training where total calories consumed are increased and the goals of training are to build muscle and get stronger. Although, bulking can mean many different things depending on who you ask, and the different methods of bulking vary even more drastically. Let me first clarify the notion of a “clean” or “dirty” bulk. A clean bulk is a well paced rate of weight gain, and consists of manageable macronutrients obtained from healthy foods. A dirty bulk is an excuse to eat garbage in the name of bulking. If you are serious about getting better as an athlete by putting on size and gaining strength, you better be eating clean and staying disciplined. Do not make excuses for yourself. For the rest of this article, the term bulking refers to a “clean” bulk.

My first phase of bulking was one, giant, six month long, uncontrolled, experiment. After I stopped wrestling my junior year of highschool, I assumed since I would no longer have to make weight anymore I would gain lots of muscle, and become big and strong. I was mistaken. Instead of eating lots of food and lifting heavy, I was still doing hundreds of burpees, running all the time, and only picking exercises I was good at with my lower body weight. In turn, I gained only THREE pounds over a nine month period (139-142). Just before high school graduation, I decided it was time for me to get BIG and STRONG. I researched and studied many articles, podcasts, and webinars from the top minds in strength and conditioning to figure out just how I would execute this bulking phase. After filtering through all the information, this is what I found to be the most common principle’s of bulking.

  • A healthy rate of weight gain is 1-1.5lbs per week.
  • You must increase overall caloric intake to gain weight.
  • You must lift HEAVY. Your program should reflect a focus on strength. You can’t truly get strong if your program is designed for someone to build conditioning.
  • EAT. EAT. EAT.
  • Keep eating.

All of these pieces of advice are very true, and can create a good base for someone who is trying to bulk. I took all these pieces of advice to the extreme. My goal was to weigh 175lbs and add 90lbs to my back squat in six months. Every morning I woke up excited to weigh myself and see how close I was too my goal. When I ate, I stuffed myself full and then ate more to ensure I was getting enough calories. I stopped all conditioning. Literally ALL conditioning. No running, burpees or rowing for a whole year. I conveniently skipped the light conditioning at the end of the week, because I needed to “recover” when really, I didn’t want to breathe hard. I kept eating and lifting heavy and obtained what I considered at that time to be amazing results. In six months time, I had gone from 142lbs to a bigger and stronger 176lbs. If my rate of weight gain was greater than a pound and a half per week, I didn’t care. I was growing and was blindsided by such a quick and large increase in weight. I had only added about 60lbs to my back squat which at the time I was happy with. This all came at a price. As you can see in the photos below, I went from being very lean, with a traditional light weight, wrestler physique, to what my family members called my dimple belly stage. I was simply too large and soft for my very short frame.

June 2015. Weight: 142lbs
December 2015. Weight: 176lbs
  • You must EAT. EAT. EAT. to get big, but you can not just consume whatever portions you want even if it is all relatively healthy foods. For the most part I was eating what most would consider healthy food, but my overall caloric intake was off the charts for what my current activity levels were.
  • Conditioning may not be a focus in a bulking phase, but for the benefit of overall health, some conditioning should be in every bulking program. I was shocked when I had a tough time doing sprint intervals on the rower and running just one mile.
  • There is a reason why most experts suggest no more than 1.5lbs gained per week when bulking. I was just getting too big, too fast and gained a substantial amount of fat and not the amount of muscle I was aiming for.
  • Continue to do bodyweight exercises so you can still move your own bodyweight even at a larger weight. It was one big wake up call when I could barely get through 10 grueling pull ups.

The second time I decided to bulk, it was after I had finished the 2016 Tahoe Show bodybuilding event where I competed as a Teen Men’s Physique competitor. At the show I had my best physique to date. Though I had lost some strength during the prep, I loved how I went from the heaviest I had ever been, and in 15 weeks created my best physique ever.

2016 Tahoe Show Front Pose. Weight: 149.5lbs
2016 Tahoe Show Back Pose. Weight: 149.5lbs

Going into this second bulk, I knew I could not repeat the process I had done the year before. I knew I needed to take control of my eating habits, pay more attention to how much weight I was gaining from week to week, and not lose all the conditioning I had developed during the prep for the bodybuilding show. In turn, that meant I needed to change up my programming too. I tested out some new training techniques and programming principles centered around gaining strength (5-3-1, Bulgarian method, etc.). My new goal was in four months to gain between 10-15lbs of body weight, add 30lbs to my back squat, and still have visible abs. The results: Weight Gain: Yes, 15lbs. Back Squat 1 Rep Max PR: No. Visible Abs: Yes. I then realized I needed to learn more about programming for strength. I already learned how to put on weight, and from previous training endeavors understood how to train for conditioning and getting better at bodyweight exercises, but I needed to truly learn how to get strong.

December 2016. Weight: 165lbs

Gaining weight was the easy part, but what good is more bodyweight if you can’t move heavier weights on the barbell. After this second go around at bulking, here are the new takeaways:

  • It is possible to eat very clean and still gain weight.
  • The training program must be tailored to build strength in addition to muscle size.
  • Getting bigger doesn’t not always mean stronger. I for sure got bigger, but still moved the same weight I always had.

After starting up jiu jitsu again and competing in several tournaments with training goals geared toward building conditioning, maintaining strength and cutting weight for competitions, I knew it was time to bulk again. That is where Settlage Size & Strength was born. I wanted to seriously get BIG and be STRONG. To my surprise, I had made some serious strength gains while still cutting weight for jiu jitsu so I knew the new programming techniques and principles I applied were working. Now it was time to construct the best diet for me that allowed me to have enough fuel to train hard with the weights for two hours in the morning, roll hard in jiu jitsu for two hours in the evening, and still build size and strength. I researched many books, videos, articles, and interviews with some of the best coaches in powerlifting. Guys like Mark Bell, Chad Wesley Smith, Matt Wenning, Mike Israetel and Louie Simmons. After spending hours of studying, and creating draft after draft of the new program, I now had a new way of going about bulking. This time I was very specific in how I tracked my macronutrients, conscious of the program and the progressive overload that I followed as well as splitting the total six month program into two phases. The first three months were focused primarily on hypertrophy or muscle size. The last three month phase were all about strength. Here are the new principles of Settlage Size & Strength for my current hypertrophy phase:

Personal Nutrition:


  • Carbs: Start with 2g/lb of bodyweight. Once weight gain stalls for two weeks, increase carbs by .25g/lb of bodyweight. If weight gain becomes greater than 1-1.5lbs per week, cut back carbs by .25g/lb of bodyweight per week till proper rate of weight gain is established. I am currently around 2.15g/lb of bodyweight.
  • Protein: 1-1.5g/lb of bodyweight.
  • Fat: Keep majority of fat sources from healthy fat sources like olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, etc.

Personal Training Protocol:

Big 3 Exercises:

  • Squat every day. Each day being a different squat variation.
  • Drop sets for volume on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.
  • Bench Monday & Thursday.
  • Deadlift Monday & Wednesday.
  • Accessory & bodybuilding exercises reflect the primary exercise for the day.

Of course there are many more intricacies and details to the program as far as rep schemes go and variations in volume from week to week, but this is the foundation of the program. In the 4 months I have been running this program on myself, I have seen amazing results! In the first 12 weeks I gained 10lbs of muscle, and achieved an unexpected 30lb PR on my back squat! I still have some abs and have kept excessive fat gain at bay. I still am able to do my bodyweight exercises and have plenty of conditioning for jiu jitsu. I must address the jiu jitsu though. The hard rounds of jiu jitsu acts as a great source of cardio that others doing this program might not have access to. I believe jiu jitsu has allowed me to gain weight and consume more calories than if I was not competing in jiu jitsu. Due to my higher levels of activity through jiu jitsu, I can afford to consume more calories. Although, this does come at a price. If I have a hard training session at jiu jitsu, sometimes my workout the following morning can suffer. I do my best to recover as optimally as possible, but sometimes it happens.

May 2017. Weight 155lbs
August 2017. Weight: 170lbs


All that being said, if you are someone who is looking to gain weight and get stronger, I hope this article gave you some insight and new perspectives on gaining weight and building muscle. The last two years of bulking and cutting cycles have taught me so much. I learned a substantial amount about my body and how it responds to different training stimulus and nutrition protocols, as well as much more. My hope is that you can take these tips I found through my several bulking cycles and apply them to your own! Don’t stop there, join the conversation! If you have questions about bulking or building strength for sport or everyday life, DM me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage) or email me at settlagesac@gmail.com! I am here to help, you. If you are interested in signing up for Settlage SIZE & STRENGTH, now is the time to do so! Registration is open till Sept. 3rd! I have seen some crazy results on this program and I am only 4 months in! Let’s put on SIZE & STRENGTH together!

The Importance of Mind Muscle Connection

In the bowels on Instagram and YouTube, if you are viewing any sort of fitness, bodybuilding, or workout content, I am sure you have heard of the phrase, “mind-muscle connection”. Though it may be a simple concept, the challenge is consistent application and correct execution. Mind muscle connection was made popular by those of the Golden Era of Bodybuilding during the late 60’s and 70’s. The Golden Era of bodybuilding produced famous lifters like, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, Dave Draper, Serge Nubret, Robby Robinson, and Frank Zane.

During bodybuilding’s early years, athletes chased the pump that they got when lifting seriously. The wonderful feeling of blood flushing through your muscles resulting in your skin feeling tight over the growing and pumped up muscle bellies. The champions of that era though went one level deeper into their training. The “mind-muscle connection”. The mind muscle connection is just that. A connection and extreme focus you place on the muscles at work during a certain exercise. For example, when doing a dumbbell curl, using mind-muscle connection means literally envisioning the bicep contracting and squeezing the weight at the top. Then focusing on how it then lengthens as you let the weight down slowly and the two heads of the bicep drifting away from one another.

This results in a better contraction. When you have a better contraction, you can recruit more muscles fibers to do more work. When more muscle fibers are at play they are able to be subject to training stimulus and thus yield better results after proper recovery. Mind muscle connection can greatly improve your workouts. The mind-muscle connection, like stretching and posing between sets, is one small extra step you can take to shock your muscles even more. Being in complete control of your body is a crucial aspect to training. Your mind is capable of subjecting the body to the specific stimulus necessary to produce the results you want to see.

The mind muscle connection also means you need to stay focused on your workout. It doesn’t mean you are texting between sets, or checking Instagram or talking to a friend at the gym. It means you are focused solely on squeezing your chest together in a fly, or pressing out the bench press with perfection. If you just go to the gym and are going through your workout lackadaisically, you will never tap into your true potential. I consider the gym almost like a church. You should not be texting in church or wondering about what is for lunch afterwards. The gym is no different. You are there to train. Not to socialize, watch other people workout, while you sit on a bench for ten minutes scrolling through Instagram. It is a time that you set aside to TRAIN. Having a mind muscle connection in your workouts means you are training with intent, not just going through the motions.

Though the mind muscle connection as described above is important, it is not necessary for all activity and exercises based on your goals. If you are pulling a heavy deadlift, your focus should shift to staying tight in the midsection, proper bracing of the spine, and keeping the bar in it’s optimal bar path, not on the hamstrings and spinal erectors. Focus, which is greatly involved in mind-muscle connection, is the underlying principle to be learned. Whether you are doing dumbbell lateral raises and you are focusing solely on your deltoids, or running and focusing on your pace and cadence, the focus you bring into the gym is what can elevate your workouts and assist you in seeing better results.